The McMurry swim team has a tough mountain to climb every year. Men's and women's swimming are the only two sports of McMurry 19 intercollegiate sports that aren't sponsored by the American Southwest Conference, and as a result the swim team is independent. It doesn't stop there, there are only three other NCAA Division III swim programs in Texas other than McMurry, which makes scheduling an issue. Many times, head coach Bev Ball will take her program to distant states to swim, or the other logical choice is to swim some of higher NCAA programs like TCU (D1), UT-Permian Basin (DII) or Incarnate Word (DII) to name a few. Sometimes, admittedly, swimming gets swept under the rug as far as recognition and coverage is concerned. However, continually McMurry's swimmers are competitive among the NCAA Division III independent teams at the end of the year and constantly, athletes are knocking on the door of swimming at the NCAA Division III meet.
One of the athletes who has a real chance to go to nationals this season, is senior swimmer Craig Osterman of the men's team. Osterman, not only has a famous sister (Kat - the former University of Texas softball pitcher), but he got a little face time on Sunday's Abilene Reporter News. Check out the article by the ARN's Sam Waller here.
The McMurry track and field team got a boost this offseason when it got several pole vaulters from Abilene Christian Unviersity at the end of the fall semester. Sage Lasater, made an immediate impact as one of assistant coach Brad Parris' vaulters at the season-opening indoor meet Saturday in Lubbock. Lasater, who competed at Texas Tech last season before transferring to ACU in the fall, then to McMurry for 2010, set a McMurry indoor school record and qualified automatically for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in March. Junior Holly Rollins provisionally qualified in the vault as well as men's vaulters Thomas Dimitri and Cory Altenburg. Two-sport standout Gavan Bass (also with football) provisionally qualified in the long jump. Check out the official release here and get the official results. McMurry returns to Lubbock for two days Friday and Saturday to return to the campus of Texas Tech.
The men's basketball team split this past weekend on the road. What hurts was Thursday's loss to last-place Texas Lutheran. McMurry played without senior point guard Robert Moreno. He was attending his brother's Marine Corps graduation in San Diego, Calif. While TLU is always a hard place to go to and win, it leaves no doubt about how valuable Moreno is to the team. Though he's a hard sell offensively for an MVP candidate, he clearly runs the offense with command and is just as affective on the defensive end as well (17 steals in the last three games). After rebounding to beat Schreiner Saturday, McMurry moves to 7-3 in the ASC surrendering its lead in the ASC West Division to Mary Hardin-Baylor who now holds a 0.5 game lead with an 8-3 record.
The women's basketball team has caught fire with six-straight wins including four-consecutive wins in the American Southwest Conference. Winning has been in a different style than the teams that made three consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2006-08. While McMurry's shooting percentages are down from years past, it's pesky defense forces a multitude of turnovers, which McMurry has done a good job of turning into points. After a game against Sul Ross State Thursday in Alpine, McMurry will see what its made of Saturday in Brownwood when it takes on nationally-ranked Howard Payne at the Brownwood Coliseum. LaPorsha Alexander continues to have a solid season averaging 15 points off the bench for McMurry. Senior Amanda Peters scored a career-high 14 points against TLU Thursday, congratulations to the senior from Aspermont.
Many remember June Jones from his coaching years at the University of Hawaii. Texas citizens now know him as the head coach at Southern Methodist University. Jones has the tough task of building a winning Mustang program that was given the death penalty for NCAA violations back in the 1970's. In just his second year, he took SMU a step forward with a 45-10 win over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl capping an 8-5 season. He has connections with McMurry head football coach Hal Mumme as Jones is also very successful running a version of the spread offense at both Hawaii and SMU. Jones will, along with ACU head coach Chris Thomsen, join Mumme and his staff to speak to high school coaches at the 3-3-5 Defense / Air Raid Offense clinic in Abilene Jan. 21-23. Read the release here.
** For those of you who are McMurry Sports Insiders and watch our football and basketball broadcasts online, we will not be showing video or audio for Thursday's game at Sul Ross State in Alpine or Saturday's game at Howard Payne in Brownwood. The Internet connections at both places will not allow us to stream the games. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Stay tuned ...